As the school year winds down, some of our thoughts and planning time has to turn to summer. There are really three different approaches to summer college ministry....keep on the same....a different schedule....and even for some it is...shut it down! A few even gear up as they have a large influx of Collegiates home for the summer who engage. But, that is a rarity.
I will quickly tell you that I believe the number one task of summer is...getting ready for the fall. Good falls are made in the summer. It is a time of connecting to incoming freshmen, scheduling speakers, developing promotional materials and for speakers, laying out your fall outline or direction.
I have tried lots of different summer approaches in campus based ministry. One year we did everything built around outdoor volleyball. Students (a large group)would show up early and play hard and then we would have Bible study. Obviously, we did it again the next summer with a dismal response. One summer we even provided a supper with the idea that this would be a plus to all the students who would come from work. Good idea...did it work....not so much. Summer is a different animal. My experience has been that week to week continuity is even more difficult in the summer.
So, here are some different ideas for summer:
1. Do a one time ministry project in a low income apartment complex.
2. Do a weekly Back-Yard-Bible Club in various locations.
3. Have a Beach Party with cold drinks in the middle of campus and meet lots of new people.
4. Weekly Event: Do an overview of a different book of the Bible...."Eight Books in Eight Weeks".
5. Fold, Lick, Staple Party: this is my all time favorite. Students help prepare mail outs for incoming students, write personal notes, call freshmen, etc. We would feed everyone pizza and then work for as much as 3 or 4 hours. I was amazed that students would often drive in from out of town to help.
6. Student Work Day for Your Meeting Area: what needs painting, cleaning up, or building?
7. Take International Students on a one day trip.
8. Enlist students to do a neighborhood survey one evening for a small church.
9. Do a different one of these each week.
10.Host an Alumni Picnic or as Virginia Tech BCM does....have an Alumni Work Weekend.
But, whatever you do, do what needs to be and can best be done to make the fall what you want and need it to be. Good falls are made in the summer!